Motorists to Get Free Petrol from Stations Guilty of Hoarding – Official

The Managing Director, Nigerian Product Marketing Company (NPMC), Mr. Umar Ajiya has said that petrol from filling stations found to be hoarding products would be confiscated and served free to motorists. Ajiya, who said this after an inspection of six stations around the FCT in company of other officials from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), noted that the corporation and its subsidiaries have stepped up efforts to bring products supplies to normalcy. Ajiya, also said the challenges marketers had with depot owners who were selling above approved ex-depot prices to them, had been taken care of by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). According to him, “Any depot or filling stations that hoard products, we have been directed that it should be sold freely to Nigerians. Of course, the genesis of the whole problem was the proposed increase in price, but we have debunked that and people should not indulge in panic buying. “The DPR has asked its operators to go out to the depots and anyone caught selling above the official rate would be penalised, or even closed.” Ajiya noted that combined efforts of the NNPC, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had seen the situation getting back to normalcy. He said the plan was to sustain the momentum and keep products supplies stable with continuous delivery of petrol cargoes into the country. “As you’ve seen, all the stations we went to have products and there are no longer queues outside the stations. Essentially, this is the product of a lot of hard work and efforts between ourselves and our sister agencies – the PPPRA, DPR and the security agencies,” he noted. He added that, “We moved our operations to 24 hours in all depots and affiliate retail stations. Similarly, our majors have done the same in Abuja to complement our efforts. In addition, we increased our truck-out capacity to over 1,300 a day. As you can see, trucks are arriving at several stations. “We had also beefed up surveillance and directed to serve motorists free petrol confiscated from depots or filling stations found to be hoarding products.” According to him, “The genesis of the whole problem was the proposed increase in price, but we had since debunked that. There was no iota of truth in that and people should not indulge in panic buying.” Ajiya said a plan had been put in place to ensure steady supply of products all through the Christmas season and beyond. “We have a robust supply plan. Every day, we have a minimum of one ship arriving Nigeria. Today, we received two ships, tomorrow, we have a ship and the day after; we are expecting two ships, and that is the trajectory going forward until the end of the year. “One ship on the average carries 50 million litres and in our belief, average consumption in Nigeria is about 35 million litres. Once we sustain our current operations, we will not have this kind of situation,” the NPMC boss assured. He further assured that the DPR had asked its operators to go to depots and monitor prices “and anyone caught selling above official rate should be penalized.” The NNPC Chief Operating Officer (Ventures), Dr. Babatunde Adeniran, who is also in charge of the task force monitoring team told newsmen” we have a robust plan that will take us to the end of the year. “Our hands are on deck to ensure normal supply and demand without chaos and to clear Lagos, Abuja and every other part of the country. Our target is to see black market operators disappear.”   

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